Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

The month of May in Indiana is known for motor sports.  It’s also a time when motorcyclists are again out in force enjoying invigorating rides in the warmer weather.

This past month was also Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) takes this time to remind us to safely “share the road” with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.

This month also signals a dramatic increase in motorcycle accidents.

There were 113 motorcycle fatalities in Indiana in 2013.  That’s down from 159 in 2012, the most fatalities in almost 40 years. Still, this is way too many.

In 2012 (the latest year in which complete statistics are available), there were 2935 crashes, compared to 2850 the year before.  Of all of these Indiana accidents, over 65% involved an injury or death, says the Indiana State Police.

Nationally, motorcycle deaths have risen in 14 of the past 15 years, and appear to have reached an all-time high of more than 5,000, according to an analysis by the Governors Highway Safety Association of 2012 data.  There are many thousands more that suffer life-long and life-changing injuries.

Not a day goes by without hearing about more motorcycle accidents causing serious injury to the riders.  Or worse.

Many of these injuries could be prevented, through driving safely and responsibly.  Some of these accidents involve unlawfully high speeds and impairment by alcohol on the part of the cyclist.

NHTSA notes that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads. This is why NHTSA urges all motorcycle riders to always “Ride Smart and Ride Sober.”

Traumatic head injuries and fatalities are a common result of a cycling accident, many times when the driver and/or passenger is not wearing a helmet.   Helmet laws vary state-to-state.  In Indiana, helmets are only required by law under the age of 18.  So, if you’re an adult, it’s up to you.  In Illinois, there are no laws requiring a helmet.

Helmet use is estimated to prevent 37% of fatalities to motorcycle operators and 41% of fatalities among passengers, according to 2010 report from the NHTSA.

About half of motorcycle fatalities were drivers who were not even legally allowed to drive.  Cyclists are urged to complete an Indiana’s rider education program.  Since starting the program in 1987, more than 100,000 Hoosiers have completed a Motorcycle Operator Safety Education course.

Often, though, it doesn’t matter how many safety precautions you take when riding a motorcycle.   A negligent driver of a car or truck can cause the accident and the motorcyclist is the innocent victim.

They may simply not see you. More and more these days drivers are distracted because they are on their cell phones.  It could be road rage.  Or the motorist responsible for the accident could be driving under the influence.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s likely you suffered devastating injuries. Because motorcycles offer little protection, a rider can incur numerous physical injuries to all parts of the body, including broken bones, amputations, severe skin abrasions (commonly known as road rash), brain and spinal injuries and, of course, even death.

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident that was caused by negligence on the part of another driver, before you talk or settle with any insurance companycall us at Theodoros & Rooth. We will carefully assess your case and aggressively go after the compensation you deserve.

At Theodoros & Rooth, our team of attorneys has over 110 years collective experience in dealing with personal injury cases, including many accidents involving trucks cars and motorcycles.

Enjoy springtime and this coming summer, but be safe.